Wonderful Light

“…to declare the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light” ( 1 Peter 2:9)

I spent a good portion of my twenties working in the dark. Singing in nightclubs for a living, I played four sets a night, the first one not even starting until 9 pm. At 2 am when the lights went on, anyone still at the bar was in for a rude awakening. Those cozy booths were actually stained and crusted with a variety of revolting substances. The bottles of Chivas Regal and Jose Cuervo glittering against the illuminated mirror were coated in a layer of grease and dust. The harsh glare revealed that the cocktail glasses, hastily sloshed out in the sink between customers, probably hadn’t ever been washed in hot soapy water.

But it was the people who were typically still there at last call that looked even worse than the shabby, stained carpets. Dim light hides a lot. A lot of ugly. Like the telltale indentation on the third finger, left hand of a ring that had been temporarily removed. Like the bloodshot eyes and shaking hands of the aging

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Making Your Mark

This is what life looks like when I am writing a new Bible study. The process is, by turns, exhilarating, frustrating, grueling, and exciting. What I love most is having a reason to pull together ideas from all my favorite books, to go back and read notes I wrote in margins 30 years ago.

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Fishing for the Right Words

My grandfather loved the sea. He’d built a sailboat, but what he enjoyed even more was the small cabin cruiser on which he spent the happiest days of his retirement fishing for flounder. An introvert and engineer, he was a patient, soft-spoken man. I imagine he liked fishing in large part because of the quiet it afforded him to think his thoughts in peace.

My father also loved boats, but did not have the same high tolerance for passively waiting in solitude as did my grandfather. My grandmother was fond of repeating the old saying: “Patience is a virtue, have it if you can; seldom found in woman, never in a man.” Although I didn’t perceive it at the time, she was probably

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What Are You Focusing On?

I think I must be going a bit cross-eyed. Am I crazy to look up at the sky and think that God is still pouring forth speech?

It started several years ago, a few days before I was due to fly to Houston to speak at my second CrossWise Living retreat. As my brother relaxed on the front porch of his log cabin in the Hill Country near Austin, he glanced up in the sky and was quick enough with his camera to grab a shot of this amazing cloud pattern. He texted it to me and joked that this was a biblical pillar of cloud leading me to Texas.

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Splendor like the Sunrise

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, some of my friends have found a simpler way— asking God to help them choose just one word as a focal point for change and growth for the year. As the year turned, I pondered this, wondering if a single word would come to me without forcing it.

It did: Focus.

And so today I am focusing my attention on what God might have to say to me in this photo of a splendid sunrise.  

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